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Dorothy Stefani

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Dorothy Stefani

Great Falls —Dorothy Maxine "Babe" Stefani, 92, of Great Falls, passed away peacefully on May 10, 2014 of a stroke surrounded by family at Peace Hospice. The family had maintained a 24 hour watch throughout. She had always held a happy, healthy, and active lifestyle!

A funeral service will be held Friday, May 16, 2014 at 2 pm at O'Connor Memorial Chapel with burial to follow at Mount Olivet Cemetery. O'Connor Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Dorothy was born on October 23, 1921 in a small house in Belt. She was the daughter of George Brutosky, an immigrant coal miner, and the daughter of Irma Brutosky, a homemaker. At the age of five, the family, including Elsi, an older sister, and Arnie, an older brother, moved to Tracy, MT due to their father's employment by the Griffin Mines. She always spoke of a happy childhood roaming the hills and fields around Tracy were she had many friends.

Dorothy attended grade school in Sand Coulee and then in 1939, she graduated high school from Centerville High School. In her late teens she met a boy from Great Falls, named Eugene "Beno" Stefani. A year after high school graduation, she married Beno whom was the love of her life for 74 years.

Two years later, in 1942, her son Dr. Dennis E Stefani was born. Beno was drafted in to the Navy so Dorothy and Dennis moved with Beno to New London, CT. They moved later to Key West, FL due to Beno's profession in the Navy as a Coastal Patrol in the Submarine Fleet. After the war the family retired in Great Falls where Beno started to work for the Great Northern Railroads until retirement and Dorothy maintained the home throughout. In 1946, another son Richard was born and a daughter Linda in 1950.

Dorothy was the loving backbone of the family. Children never came home to an empty house. She was the original soccer mom, drove to music lessons, academics and athletic events. She continually participated in parent groups at The Ursuline Academy and Central High School.

In 1956 her husband "Beno" started in the tavern business with The White Spot Bar. A few years later it was torn down and replaced by The Office Bar which now is Ike and Susan's Bar. Dorothy maintained the home and gave continual support to Beno and the family.

As business prospered and became larger and more comfortable the household remained the same. Loving and caring was the norm from Dorothy to her family. Friends of the children were always welcome and many were always delighted to stop in for "steak and ravioli's".

In 1976 the business was sold. Beno and Dorothy moved to Whitefish when the Great Northern merged with the Northern Pacific. Beno engineered trains across the high line.

The house on Whitefish Lake was maintained by Grandma Dorothy and was always a delight for her children and grandchildren to visit.

After retirement Beno and Dorothy began the Sidetrack Lounge. Dorothy, with only Beno to look after now, spent many countless hours talking with new found friends. This led her to join dart teams and to finally start doing things that she enjoyed. Years later the two also started The Lucky Nickel.

Their son Dr. Dennis Stefani made a career in the army. Wherever he was stationed Dorothy loved to visit. Germany and Panama were especially a delight for her. A month long Eurail trip in Europe was her favorite. After retirement from the businesses Beno and Dorothy spent their time on long drives stopping for dinner in various restaurants. However their home was always a great gathering for visitors.

Dorothy is survived by her husband of 74 years, Eugene; sons Dr. Dennis Stefani and Richard Stefani; six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her best friend and daughter, Linda Stefani; parents George and Irma Brutosky; brother Arni Brutosky; sister Elsi Wick; and great-grandson Nick Peters.

Condolences may be left online at

Published in Great Falls Tribune on May 13, 2014
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